Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sport of Choice

Blue at The Rainbow Dogess recently posted a question/comment from an Aussie forum she frequents.

What got you into your sport of choice...why that one, why not another type of dog sport? What else have you tried, but don't care for? What haven't you tried but would like to?

Katrin at By My Side and Amanda at ManyMuddyPaws both responded and I thought I would too. It was an interesting question. For me it is particularly interesting because currently Bug has me questioning what my sport is!

My original sport of choice is agility. I started doing Agility-for-Fun at my local shelter to build Ike’s (my reactive MS) confidence. After a few years of fussing around at the shelter I knew I wanted to take it further and found Katrin at Maplewood Dog. Fast forward a few years, I have started working with Carmen because DH doesn’t want to get another dog and I know Ike isn’t too keen on trialing. Then Ike explicitly tells me he hates trialing.

Agility was definitely still my sport of choice because what did I do? I continued with Carmen, brought home Bug to do more agility and set to work trying to figure out a sport Ike likes.

In the quest to find a sport Ike likes I tried competitive obedience. He liked the gist of it but was going to have a VERY difficult time with Stand for Exam. I don’t think it is a great sport for me – I like to talk to my dog. But we will see in the future with Bug.

I tried Earthdog with Ike – he is not very interested in the rats. He’s willing to work the tunnels for praise. I tried Earthdog with Carmie, too – hoping it could be a fall back when her sight gets too bad for agility. Unfortunately neither were that interested. I think I will try again. I recently read about a Schnauzer on the Performance Schnauzer list who tried 20 times before getting his first JE leg. It is probably a lot like herding with Bug – all of a sudden the instinct can and will kick on.

Most recently we tried Rally Obedience. Ike LOVES Rally Obedience. However, I discovered that he just plain old hates trialing – regardless of the sport or venue. I hope to get him back in a Rally-O class soon – he loves to train, he just hates trialing!

With Bug I have started herding. I have to say I find it sneaking further and further up my list of sports. This is primarily because Bug adores it and apparently I can’t resist a challenge. I am actually contemplating putting agility on the back burner for a few months and focusing on herding while the weather is nice. It boggles my mind that I would consider that! I haven’t made a decision, but I have been thinking about it a lot since our lesson Sunday. Bug loves it.

I would love to try tracking with any of my dogs – Bug especially seems to have a stellar nose.

Oh, and I tried conformation with Bug. It stresses me out as much as Ike gets stressed out by trialing….a lot! Yuck!

What got you into your sport of choice...why that one, why not another type of dog sport? What else have you tried, but don't care for? What haven't you tried but would like to?


penni said...

It's difficult for me to say there is one dog sport that is IT! Although Inca mostly wants to be the couch potato/empress, she likes to train with me in obedience, and she loves agility and herding. She earned her RN -- maybe can go farther, but I run out of hours. I think tracking is the best thing I do with the dogs for both the dog and me. The dog gets to be in charge, it's relaxing to be outside alone with the dog. We aren't competing against anyone else. Though Chase is a do-it-all dog, and I expect he will garner a number of titles on the back end, Tracking is the very best.

manymuddypaws said...

sometimes the dogs know the answer long before we do!! i say if Bug likes herding, and you like herding, there is nothing wrong with focusing on one thing for a while.

the break from agility could very well do great things for your training, and bugs enjoyment!

Blue said...

It's been really fun reading the responses to this question. It seems like everyone who tries herding ranks it high on their list. Especially the dogs!